Why should you use a recruiter when conducting a job search? Let me outline the reasons for you.
First, a good recruiter knows the marketplace. He or she knows which companies are doing well and which ones are struggling. He or she knows the culture of those companies, their market niche and what their market share is. A recruiter should know the salary ranges for different positions with different companies in different locations. Most of all he or she will know which companies are hiring and which ones are not. What is the benefit of this? With their advice you as a job seeker will not waste your time on companies that do not pay well, have a bad company culture or are going through a transition in management.
Second, a good recruiter can help you with your resume. Recruiters see hundreds of resumes every year. They know what will attract the eye of a hiring authority and what gets ignored. Some recruiters are willing to rewrite your resume. Most will not. But at the least they will offer you valuable feedback on how to best present yourself in your resume. Often some simple changes will highlight aspects of your work experience that a prospective employer would not have otherwise noticed. A poorly written resume will be immediately trashed and not given a second look.
Third, a good recruiter can get you quickly into a hiring authority. Everyone has had the experience of submitted a resume on line and then never getting a response. In fact that is the most common result of an on line submission. An experienced recruiter has relationships with hiring authorities. Can he or she guarantee that a client will interview you? No but the chances are much better of that happening. A good recruiter will contact the hiring authority and advocate for you. He or she will convey facts about your background and personality that are not evident from your resume. Often hiring authorities read a resume and come to some negative conclusion about a candidate. A recruiter can counter this negative perception with positive facts about your work history. Typically a recruiter can get a yes or no decision from a hiring authority. Consequently you as a candidate are not wasting your time pursuing a potential opportunity that is not open to you.
Fourth, a good recruiter can prep you for the interview. A recruiter with a long standing relationship with a company will have a wealth of information about the company He/she will know their hot buttons. He or she will know their dress code. A recruiter may know that the hiring authority went to the same school as you. Certainly he will be able to give you advice on how the interview will be conducted, questions to ask, potential stories about your work successes that you can relate. A recruiter will remind you to send a follow up email or note to the hiring authority. You typically only get one interview opportunity and you want to maximize how your present yourself.
Fifth, a good recruiter can help you negotiate your compensation. How often in your career have you negotiated your compensation? A recruiter does this almost every work day of his career. A good recruiter knows his client, their benefits package, where the package might be tweaked and where the client is not flexible on certain items. His role a go between is an invaluable one and is often the difference between success and failure. A good recruiter can help you understand what is reasonable in a salary and benefits package and what is not. Therefore you won’t have unrealistic expectations and possibly pass up an excellent career move.
Are there more reasons to have a relationship with a recruiter. Certainly. Like your relationship with an attorney, an accountant or a real estate agent everyone needs a relationship with an experienced recruiter as they make changes and investigate new opportunities through their career.